cover image The Maybe-Bird

The Maybe-Bird

Jennifer Elise Foerster. The Song Cave, $18.95 trade paper (134p) ISBN 978-1-73727-755-2

Foerster (Bright Raft in the Afterweather), a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma, delivers a lyrical and multilingual exploration of environment, language, displacement, and violence. The first two sequences borrow from myth and non-fictional accounts, placing the Mvskoke language and southeastern U.S. history front and center: “I cannot language the tree/ or point out the sun’s/ strange amulets.// Enchanted, the heart/ is at liberty/ to ruin itself.// Nature will bring all/ under the great wave/ by degrees.” Throughout, Foerster blends commentary with striking imagery: “What conceit, drawn/ with an American camera—// the scenery of another epoch’s/ slender pines seemed to rest/ as on a robe of marten skins.” The third section in particular bestows careful attention to shifting landscapes, as in “One week away and the forest has changed”: “One week away and the forest has changed./ Measured wind, consistent in its image./ First frost, day’s ghost, chattering red-toothed leaves.” Foerster’s gifts are on display in this conceptually ambitious book. (June)